getting pollen out of flowers -- logistics
Does any one have a good method for getting pollen grains out of flowers for analysis of nitrogen content?
Have heard of letting the flowers (anthers) dry out, dehisce and collecting them at the bottom of a paper bag but this will have plant material mixed in perhaps.
Also heard of washing the anthers in distilled water and then filtering the pollen grains through a sieve.
Has anyone got any practical tips for this ?
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>Does any one have a good method for getting pollen grains out ofScotch tape.
>flowers for analysis of nitrogen content?
Works like a charm getting pollen smears to do comparative light
microscopy, I don't see why it couldn't work for your purposes,
unless small amounts of adhesive would interfere in the analytical
procedure. A lot depends on the quantity of pollen required; if it's
a very small amount, a typical tape-strip sample has a pretty fair
number of grains that are held on not by adhesive, but by adhesion to
other pollen grains, and these can be dislodged very easily with a
careful, gentle scalpel blade scrape - resulting in a small pile of
grains that have no adhesive at all.
Doug Yanega Dept. of Entomology Entomology Research Museum
Univ. of California, Riverside, CA 92521-0314 skype: dyanega
phone: (951) 827-4315 (standard disclaimer: opinions are mine, not UCR's)
"There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82
Linda- it depends entirely on the circumstances, which is a prime reason that published studies have worked with some plants and not others. One approach for bee pollinated plants with small amts of inaccessible pollen (e.g. alfalfa, other papilionaceous legumes) is to let a megachilid bee do it for you, or any other bee that totes its pollen dry. If you take pollen pellets of honey- or bumble bees, realize that a variable fraction of the dry weight (say 25%) will be nectar sugars, confounding calculations of protein percentage for just the pollen itself. I’ve done just this, intercepting them back at nests, freezing them, brushing the pollen out of their scopa, checking ID on a slide mount, and using the rest. Works best for plants dominating a floral display (e.g. farm field, or a comparable natural setting). For quite a few other flowers, esp. wind-pollinated ones, collect a big bouquet, stand them in water, and place the vase on a sheet of glass. You’ll get some fallen pollen, and you can augment this by buzzing around the bouquet with a tuning fork daily. Use a razor blade to plow the pollen around on the smooth clean glass surface, piling it up and into your container. Steve Buchmann taught me this technique, and it has worked for me in many contexts.
Good luck! jim
James H. Cane
USDA-ARS Bee Biology and Systematics Lab
Utah State University, Logan, UT 84322 USA
tel: 435-797-3879 FAX: 435-797-0461
Gardening for Native Bees: http://extension.usu.edu/files/publications/factsheet/plants-pollinators09.pdf
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